By Makenzie Plusnick —
According to the Humane Society of Central Texas, 7.6 million animals enter the shelter every year. Of those animals, 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized. 35 percent of all animals that enter shelters are adopted, 31 percent are euthanized, and 26 percent are returned to owner. Of the estimated 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats that are household pets in the United States, most pets are obtained through friends and family, while 28 percent are from breeders and 29 percent are adopted from shelters.
If you have ever visited a shelter, you have likely seen kennels full of animals. Often shelters take advantage of social media to publicize the animals available for adoption and as a call for help when they are low on supplies or have an animal who is at risk of euthanasia. This is clearly a sign that there are too many companion animals and not enough homes.
I believe part of this is because there is still a stigma about mixed breed dogs. Many view pets that come from breeders as a safer bet, whether it be better behavior, better health, or just a certain appearance, and turn to a breeder to obtain a pet. This just continues the cycle of supply and demand; the more people seeking purebred animals, the more breeders must breed. However, not all of these animals are given forever homes. Shelters often have a mix of purebred and mixed breed animals. Bringing more of these animals into a world where there are already too many animals seems cruel.
It has also been proven that purebred animals have their own breed-related issues. Pugs, for examples, often have breathing issues. Cocker Spaniels have several breed specific health issues. While you may not know the problems an adopted animal may have, any animal is at risk for health issues.
Adopting an animal can also be a better financial decision. Not only is it typically much cheaper than buying an animal from a breeder, animals are often neutered and given their immunizations while at the shelter. If the animal has any other treatable health issues, the shelter or local veterinarians will often sponsor the treatments to help offset the cost.
Adopting an animal is also a great option for those who do not have time to train a young animal. Older dogs are a great option for students, professionals or just anyone who does not have the time or patience to completely train a dog. While some older animals may still need some training or may have some behavioral problems, they are also typically calmer and require less attention than a young animal would. Shelters also sometimes offer a reduced adoption fee for older animals because people normally look for puppies and kittens.
Getting a pet is a commitment for the duration of the life of the animal. It is not something to do on a whim. You must consider your current and future living situation, the time you have available for a pet, if you have the money for the pet, and if you are willing to commit to this animal for the rest of its life. And if the signs point towards getting a pet, consider adopting. Your future pet will thank you.